Veredas Sol e Lares brings unprecedented progress in the construction of a popular energy model for Brazil
Milestone in the history of the energy sector in Brazil, a floating photovoltaic solar power plant project was implemented with participation and social control of the affected and will benefit families from the Jequitinhonha and Rio Pardo Valleys
Publicado 18/04/2023 - Atualizado 18/04/2023
This year in March, the Veredas project completed the implementation activities of a floating solar power generation plant with popular control in the municipality of Grão Mogol, in the semi-arid region of Minas Gerais. The initiative was conceived from a proposal of the Movement of People Affected by Dams – MAB, made possible through a Research and Development Project (P&D) of Aneel. Today, the plant is part of the Recovery and Development Plan of areas and territories affected by dams in Vale do Jequitinhonha (MG).
The largest floating photovoltaic plant in Latin America will produce energy to reduce the costs of the energy bills of about 1,250 families and will be managed by an association composed of the families of the affected. This is a historical achievement related to the theme of energy sovereignty, which marks the 32 years of the MAB’s operations in the country. The completion of the installation is the result of an important struggle of the Movement, which in 2018, began turning into an achievement, when Governor Fernando Pimentel (PT) signed a term of commitment to the execution of the project. At the time, it was defined that the initiative would be based on social research and a local and regional development plan, with systematizations, validation and propositions for the project based on broad popular participation.
Read more: VEREDAS SOL E LARES: THE FIRST GREAT EXPERIENCE OF POPULAR MANAGEMENT OF GENERATION DISTRIBUTION OF ELECTRICITY ADVANCES
Therefore, since the beginning of the activities, traditional peoples and communities, and popular researchers on energy and regional development have been involved. Last year alone, almost three thousand people from 19 municipalities participated in the project’s community monitoring meetings. It is noteworthy that 55% of the residents involved in these activities are women. The communities were also involved through a methodology focused on popular education, research and action, participatory research, pedagogy of alternation and participatory rural diagnosis.
In this sense, according to Aline Ruas, member of the MAB’s coordination, in addition to being a reference for the development of community energy in Brazil, the project is also a grassroots formation initiative, considering the affected communities and peoples participated directly in the process from planning to the Plant’s assembly.
Read more: VEREDAS SOL E LARES: AFTER TWO YEARS OF STRUGGLE, POPULAR ENERGY PROJECT WILL BE RESUMED IN SEMIARID REGION OF MINAS GERAIS
In November 2022, during the seminar Nossa União Faz Nossa Luz, which took place in Araçuaí (MG), the Association of Consumers of Distributed Generation of Minas Gerais – Veredas Sol e Lares, focused on popular and social management of the Plant, was founded. In this associative management model, is a collective of 15 members, including women and representatives of youth and rural communities. The signed statute consolidates a non-profit institution, composed of three types of associates: low-income families, contributing associates and legal entity associates. This credit redistribution system, in which some associates contribute to energy compensation, guarantees the plant and the association’s economic viability, covering the expenses of maintaining the structure.
“Thus, we have an unprecedented experience achieved by the struggle and executed with wide participation and protagonism of the popular movement. This proves that the people build science and technology and that, in practice, contribute to the popular energy project, bringing another form of viewing energy which is a right and not merchandise”, analyses Aline Ruas.